SG firm pumps $500M into crucial fiber internet backbone project in PH
Singapore-based fiber infrastructure company HyalRoute Group said it invested an initial $500 million (P24.6 billion) to complete a portion of a Philippine internet backbone through an agreement with the government.
This would pave the way for cheaper and fast internet in “more rural places” within the next two years, said Hendrick Huang, executive deputy managing director of HyalRoute’s Philippine subsidiary, Philippines Fiber Optic Cable Network (PFOCN).
In a statement on Monday, Huang said they were targeting to finish around 16,000 kilometers of fiber lines by the end of this year.
This is part of a nearly decadelong plan starting 2019 to invest over $3 billion and complete a 60,000-km internet backbone across the Philippines.
HyalRoute, which builds and operates fiber networks in Myanmar and Cambodia, said PFOCN had signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for its domestic rollout.
A company representative said they would be a “passive infrastructure provider” and thus do not require a Congressional franchise to build and maintain the network.
PFOCN said it also does not have any local partners but confirmed it had previously signed a memorandum of agreement with local telecommunications license holder Now Telecom Co. Inc.
PFOCN said the new fiber network would “help spur the government’s National Broadband Program and free public Wi-Fi project to reach unserved and underserved areas.”
The company’s fiber network would also support the ongoing expansion of 5G mobile services by PLDT Inc.’s Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, the statement showed.
HyalRoute claims to be the leading provider of shared fiber networks in emerging Asia. It generates earnings from selling and leasing fiber lines.
Its internet backbone in Myanmar spans 27,480 km and 21,809 km in Cambodia, information on its website showed.
After signing an agreement with the DICT in 2019, PFOCN said the nationwide fiber network would be completed in various phases until 2028.
The company said it was confident it would finish at least half of the project or 30,000 km by 2024 despite movement restrictions during the pandemic.
“People in Mindanao, in Palawan, in Baguio, Tuguegarao, other middle level cities like Tarlac—all those cities will have internet access that is on a par with or close to what we have in Manila right now,” Huang said in the statement. INQ
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